This chapter chronicles my daily observation of a friend’s mother in a care home. Knowing next to nothing of the situation when I came here to visit, I decided to chart what I saw, in the interests of this blog. What I’ve written is what I notice, as an unrelated outsider from another country; my personal musings are included in italics.
I’m in a small village far north. For the security of people involved: X refers to my friend, Y to his mother, and the care home is referred to as The Facility. X returned here, to the village where he had grown up, two years ago, when Y had a stroke, after which she was moved against her will by other family members to The Facility, a ‘top-of-the-range’ care home, where she receives no post-stroke care. Y is 92 years old.
When X and I arrived at The Facility, Y’s room smelled; she hadn’t been assisted up to go to the toilet. She cried and screamed for some time, clinging to X. With time, she seemed less distressed; she laughed when he spoke, but still screamed at me as X explained again and again who I was. The door was open when we arrived, all the time we were there, and when we left, so the staff could hear her (the room is soundproofed), and X showed me where they have a surveillance camera hidden pointing to her bed.
Why did nobody respond to her screams? And why hadn’t she been taken to the toilet?